Differences Between Real, Healthy Sex and Sex in Pornography

  • Author: Ummer
  • Published: March 31, 2023
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In today’s information age, there’s a guide for everything.

Want to play an instrument? You can search YouTube and learn how.

But what does this have to do with healthy sex?

There are many unofficial “guides” on the internet about sex. And they usually come in the form of pornographic videos.

Maybe you’re in a new relationship, or your sex life is getting stale. Naturally, you’ll turn to the internet for ideas.

However, we advise you to educate yourself on what real, healthy sex is before you open an incognito browser.

But what’s so bad about porn? Isn’t it just watching people have sex?

Not quite. Porn isn’t real sex. It can have a negative impact on your sex life and romantic relationships.

There are many misconceptions about porn and its relation to sex. It also promotes behaviors outside the bedroom that are unhealthy for relationships. In contrast, healthy sex builds a relationship.

By the end of this article, you’ll know what real, healthy sex is — and how porn works against relationships.

Porn Shapes Sexual Expectations

Porn and healthy sex have different goals. Porn aims to help people masturbate. It does this by stimulating the imagination, creating arousal, and paving the way to orgasm.

Healthy sex on the other hand nurtures a relationship. Sex is about expressing our feelings for someone physically. It’s about sharing pleasure. This helps us form pair bonds.

Pair bonds are lasting relationships between two adults. The monogamous mating in a pair bond allows society to organize itself at the smallest level.

Many young people learn everything they know about sex from pornography. Unfortunately, porn is a terrible source of sex education.

When people without exposure to real sex learn about sexual intimacy from porn — it creates many misconceptions about sex. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Misconceptions About Porn and Sex

Misconceptions about sex have done damage on an individual and societal level.

It’s skewed our understanding of what healthy sex looks and feels like.

This can range from the size of someone’s genitals to which sexual positions are comfortably achievable. We’ll cover other myths made popular through porn too.

Physical Misconceptions

Performers in porn videos often have enhanced physical features. Plastic surgery, video/image editing, and even deep fakes are some of the tools used by the porn industry to fool viewers.

Here are the top physical misconceptions portrayed by porn:

  • Body types: Mainstream porn often casts the same body types. In real life, people come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Big penises: Not every guy has a large penis. Studies have shown that the average penis length is between 5.1 and 5.5 inches.
  • Real sex can be gross: Natural bodily functions don’t pause during sex. Sweating, farting, and a host of strange things happen during sex.
  • Most women don’t squirt: Don’t feel down if your female partner doesn’t squirt. In a 2013 study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine, it was found that 10 to 54 percent of women can squirt. Furthermore, these women aren’t ejaculating every time they have sex.
  • Uncomfortable positions: Porn shows positions most pleasing to the viewer. The actors are contorting themselves into uncomfortable positions to get the best shot. Real sex involves positions that are comfortable.

Other Misconceptions

Porn also creates misconceptions about non-physical areas. Let’s look at a few:

  • Communication: Porn is scripted, and communication exists to benefit the viewer. For example, the producer may tell the actors to try a position because it looks good on camera. Healthy sex involves both partners guiding each other on what feels best.
  • Emotional connection: Healthy sex involves intimacy and passion. It’s a vehicle for a deeper connection with a person. Sex has lasting effects on a person’s emotions, even if it’s casual.
  • Size doesn’t always matter: A man’s penis size isn’t usually a dealbreaker. The obsession with penis size is likely a newer concept linked to porn.
  • Porn causes relationship problems: Not necessarily. Porn is a way to escape existing relationship problems. For example, sexual shame, power struggles, and insecurities may push someone to watch porn instead of having sex.
  • Porn doesn’t hurt anyone: This is a common argument from many users. They claim they’re not hurting anyone by watching porn. Porn has been known to attract trafficking, coercion, and degrade actors and consumers.

Using vs Caring for Someone

Porn focuses on the pleasure seeker’s point of view.

This encourages them to see people as objects to satisfy a fantasy.

When we only want sex from our partners, all we’ve done is narcotize them.

There’s no genuine connection. It’s just people using each other as drugs. Vulnerability is needed for genuine human connection. But lust is an attractive alternative because it doesn’t require vulnerability.

Some people aren’t looking for real relationships. They’re looking for sex as an attempt at having a relationship with themselves.

Research has found that porn teaches viewers to “consume” others as products. This leads to a flawed understanding of what a healthy relationship looks like.

On the other hand, healthy sex is about caring for the other person. It’s not about what you can take from the other person, it’s about what you can give. And it’s through that giving that you feel pleasure.

You’re still seeking pleasure — but this time, with context. It’s a shared experience that brings you closer instead of a solo gratification session.

Meaningful Communication

Telling your partner what you like or dislike in bed is essential for healthy sex.

Oftentimes, there’s a lot of trial and error, and experimentation before things go smoothly. And meaningful communication paves the way for this. Without it, your sex life will be disjointed — and you’ll be left sexually unsatisfied as a couple.

Communication is what makes sex safer and more pleasurable. Healthy communication can even be found outside the bedroom, strengthening your relationship.

Porn paints an unrealistic picture of communication before and during sex. Communication during porn takes the form of verbal abuse — and talking can be a mood killer. Performers talk about their boundaries before filming, but it isn’t entirely consensual.

Healthy Boundaries

Speaking of consent, boundaries are essential for healthy sexual relations.

In porn, almost anything goes. Generally, if it fulfills someone’s fantasy, it’s acceptable.

Porn also lacks context. It treats sex as a standalone act. It can last much longer and it follows a “script”. It may start with grabbing breasts, fellatio, and cunnilingus. Then it’s onto vaginal sex in different positions (and sometimes anal).

This shapes sexual expectations on a societal level. And some women feel they have to enact this script when having sex. In a UK survey of over 22,000 women, 16% were coerced into sex acts from porn.

A lack of boundaries in porn normalizes violence against women. It does this by eroticizing and presenting violence as entertainment.

It can also be used as a tool to gauge the level of your porn addiction. A preference towards increasingly violent porn can be problematic. This is because it impacts sexual attitudes and behaviors. This user may feel like re-enacting a violent fantasy when they have sex with a real-life partner.

Boundaries are a part of healthy sex, and they’re enforced by communication. Some couples will use a safe word. A safe word is an arranged signal (usually a phrase or word) that ends the activity.

Real Sex Is an Expression of Intimacy

Healthy sex promotes feelings of intimacy and closeness.

A hormone called oxytocin (the love hormone) is released after orgasm. The body also releases serotonin which makes us feel happy during arousal.

Oxytocin plays a major role in creating and strengthening an emotional bond between partners. Research from the University of California states that oxytocin is associated with the ability to sustain interpersonal relationships and healthy boundaries.

Furthermore, oxytocin helps with fidelity. A study found that men in monogamous relationships who were given oxytocin kept their distance from attractive women more than men who were given placebos.

As mentioned earlier, sex helps with pair bonding. This is also true for the child-parent bond. Both mothers and fathers with high levels of oxytocin are more likely to be affectionate with their children. The children also get oxytocin from these interactions and seek healthy contact.

Interestingly, healthy sex can help you quit porn. Oxytocin does this by influencing your reward pathways. It creates a loop that incentivizes you to seek sexual contact with a reliable partner.

Why This Matters

Porn isn’t just harmful because of what it shows — but also what it leaves out.

It cuts out communication, foreplay, responding to each other’s needs, and intimacy. There are also many myths misleading society towards unhealthy sex.

So why does this matter?

Put simply, sex has a significant impact on the quality of your relationship. And the quality of someone’s romantic relationship has a profound effect on their well-being.

Trust, intimacy, love, and passion are the biggest predictors of relationship quality. And it’s no surprise that healthy sex boosts them.

Porn kills love.

It sends you down a path of choosing behaviors that stifle a healthy connection with your partner.

Do yourself a favor and transform your life by internalizing a healthy concept of sex.

You’ll be happier and healthier for it.

Sumit


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